At the meeting of several rivers that flow into the Chesapeake Bay lies the Hampton Roads metro and its namesake body of water. A hub for tourism, retirees, and commerce, approximately 1.7 million people reside in the area. The region contains two counties in North Carolina, Currituck and Gates; four counties in Virginia, Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, and Mathews; and nine independent cities which do not belong to any county: Chesapeake, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg.

One of the country’s busiest ports, Hampton Roads features a strong economy with a heavy presence from the federal government. Major businesses include shipbuilders such as Huntington-Ingalls and the Norfolk Naval Shipyard plus Smithfield Foods, Dollar Tree, and Bank of America.

Encompassing so many different cities and counties, in the Hampton Roads region, commuting between areas for work is a common habit. This habit often leads job-seekers to explore outside of their home city or county for work. 

While businesses throughout Hampton Roads can enjoy benefits from such a mobile workforce, that same mobility makes it more challenging to vet new hires. A background check policy designed with the challenges of a metropolitan area in mind is the ideal solution.

If it has been some time since your business last updated its background check policies, now is the ideal opportunity to review them. If your pool of applicants might include individuals from anywhere inside the metro, restricting your search to only your city or county can yield results too narrow to draw reliable conclusions. Looking only at what Newport News records say about an applicant, for example, may mean missing something highly relevant held by the courts in Gloucester County. 

Using a more comprehensive metro-wide background check policy avoids such a scenario. By broadening your search, you can offer job-seekers a role in your business with confidence in their trustworthiness.

Before the adoption of such a policy, take the opportunity to review all relevant fair hiring laws at the federal, state, and local levels to ensure compliance.

No ban the box rules are on the books in the Hampton Roads metro in Virginia or in the two counties in North Carolina. Laws in both states allow for the consideration of non-expunged arrests and convictions, but note that background checks typically do not contain information on arrests that did not yield a conviction. Apart from these guidelines, federal law, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, always remains in effect. provides important options for businesses retooling their background check policies so they can better function in a metropolitan area. We utilize direct searches of county-level courthouse records for all the areas within this region, including Gates and Currituck Counties in North Carolina; Isle of Wight, James City, Mathews, and Gloucester counties in Virginia; and the cities of Chesapeake, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg. 

To cover the remainder of Virginia, we recommend a state-specific background check, while a regional OneSEARCH allows for the inclusion of North Carolina and up to five states in total.

Data included in these background reports may include information from Virginia’s Administrative Office of the Courts, Department of Corrections, and state sex offender registry. Information generated from a county-level courthouse check may include the subject’s:

  • Case number and filing date
  • Charge and degree of offense
  • Sentence
  • Disposition and disposition date

For Hampton Roads businesses, adopting a metro-wide background check is the simplest way to enhance confidence in every hiring decision. Learn how you can access the tools and support required to make your new policy a success.


Learn more about our county background check options


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